For many New England anglers, Autumn marks the beginning of the end of the season. So unless you’re a hunter or like to ice fish, there is a desperate scramble to get as many fishing days in before December comes.
Autumn also marks the “fall run” of striped bass, which as of late hasn’t been much to get excited about. However, there are good signs of a potential productive fall if you look at the amount of bait in both harbors and the numbers of small — two, three, and four year-old-stripers in New Harbor. There are plenty of schoolie-sized bass also being caught around the island, mostly off the east beaches, during the evening and late-night hours.
If anyone needs some motivation to get out and fish the beach this fall go sit in Rebecca’s on Water Street and look up behind the counter at the skin mounted 70.5 pound striper caught in the 80’s. Then look at the date on the citation for the state record and you’ll see the fish was caught in November.
Autumn also marks the appearance of false albacore, aka albies. These little tunas are actually in the mackerel family and are a welcome change of pace for the serious angler. They are often a challenge to catch making success that much sweeter.
Block Island offers a chance at the coveted New England ‘Grand Slam’ — catching a striper, bluefish, and albie the same day — but what’s special on Block Island is you can do it from the beach: at the Coast Guard channel, Andy’s Way, Dinghy Beach and the Beach Avenue Bridge. Those locales offer chances to catch one or more of these species. Catching the slam from the beach is a bucket list item, kind of like finding one of those glass floats on the hiking trails after searching for five years… it’s a big check mark for an angler.
The albie is often the hardest to catch of the three because they are fast, elusive, and can be finicky — you have to offer the right lure. On any given day this can be one of a dozen different choices. ‘Tins’ or metal lures like the Deadly Dick, Hogy Epoxy Jig, and Swedish Pimples are a must in the arsenal. For soft plastics go with the 4.5” sluggo in pink, rainbow, or purple, or the Albie Snax lure, small RonZ’s, and the Hurley sandeel. The bone colored Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow (in both sizes) or the Heddon Super Spook are needed for topwaters.
The last piece to albie catching is patience and perseverance. Once you have success in the hookup you’ll quickly realize why these fish are sought after. The fast powerful runs and unpredictability make them fun and challenging. And once you land one yourself, you’ll be hooked!
Catch em Up!